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MEN  OF MATHEMATICS
less he gathered about Mm an extremely able band of young
mathematicians who were absolutely devoted to him and who
did much to propagate his ideas, for Weierstrass was always
slow about publication, and without the broadcasting of his
lectures which his disciples took upon themselves his influence
on the mathematical thought of the nineteenth century would
have been considerably retarded.
\Teierstrass was always accessible to his students and sin-
cerely interested hi their problems, whether mathematical or
human. There was nothing of the 'great man5 complex about
him, and he would as gladly walk home with any of the students
- and there were many - who cared to join him as with the most
famous of his colleagues, perhaps more gladly when the col-
league happened to be Kronecker, He was happiest when,
sitting at a table over a glass of wine with a few of his devoted
disciples, he became a jolly student again himself and insisted
on paying the bill for the crowd.
An anecdote (about Mittag-LefiQer) may suggest that the
Europe of the present century has partly lost something it had
in the 1870's. The Franco-Prussian war (1870-71) had left
France pretty sore at Germany. But it had not befogged the
minds of mathematicians regarding one another's merits irre-
spective of their nationalities. The like holds for the Napoleonic
wars and the mutual esteem of the French and British mathe-
maticians. In 1873 Mittag-LefHer arrived in Paris from Stock-
holm all set and full of enthusiasm to study analysis under
Hennite. 'You have made a mistake, sir', Hermite told him:
*you should follow Weierstrass' course at Berlin. He is the
master of all of us.'
Mittag-LetSer took the sound advice of the magnanimous
Frenchman and not so long afterwards made a capital discovery
of his own which is to be found to-day in all books on the theory
of functions. 'Hexmite was a Frenchman and a patriot', Mittag-
Leffler remarks; ;I learned at the same tune in what degree he
was also a mathematician.'
The years (1864-97) of Weierstrass' career at Berlin as Pro-
fessor of Mathematics were full of scientific and human interests
for the man who was acknowledged as the leading analyst in
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